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Lesser known places to visit in China



China is a fabulous location if you are looking for ancient history mixed with modern attractions feeling. When you first set eyes on Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan province, it’s certainly not difficult to see how filmmaker James Cameron was able to draw inspiration from it. Cameron’s box office hit, Avatar, could well have been set in this area of stunning natural beauty, its many unique pillar-like rock formations looking like some incredible alien landscape right out of a sci-fi movie (one of the tallest pillars, standing at an impressive 1,080-meters, has in fact been renamed “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain”).

This is one of the lesser known places to visit in China. In addition to its many natural wonders, which can best be explored as part of an organized tour, the park boasts a number of new man-made attractions. The first to be built was the Bailong Elevator, aka the “Hundred Dragons Sky Lift.” Elevating groups of up to 50 people 326 meters skyward in under two minutes, it’s an impressive structure, and one that offers dramatic views all the way. Also notable is the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge, opened in 2016 and heralded as the world’s highest and tallest pedestrian bridge. Standing 300 meters above the ground and extending 430 meters along a spectacular cliff face, it’s an attraction that’s definitely not recommended for the faint of heart but one of the best things to do if you are looking to add a little adventure to your day.

Hundreds of years ago, the Chinese built massive stone walls around their cities to defend them from invaders. Xi’an was no exception. This city’s wall survives today, and is considered one of the most well preserved in China. The wall is 12 meters (40 feet) tall and about 15 meters (50 feet) wide at the bottom, tapering to 12 meters (40 feet) at the top. Walking on this wall is a must-do for visitors to this ancient capital of China. Located about a mile northwest of the ancient city of Dali in southern China, The Three Pagodas are one of the best preserved Buddhist structures in China having endured several man-made and natural catastrophes. The middle pagoda, built during 824-840 AD by king Quan Fengyou, is 69.6 meters (227 feet) high and is one of the tallest pagodas in China. The other two pagodas were built about a century later.

Originally built by King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century, the awe-inspiring Potala Palace, perched high above much of Lhasa, is the landmark of the city. Built against the Red Hill, Potala Palace is a spectacular castle-like building complex of Lhasa, which is used to be the unification centre of political and religious of Tibet. Covered an area of over 360,000 square meters, it is a great palace of art with creative designing and gorgeous decoration. Its conservative religious atmosphere, precious scriptures, murals, jewels and antiques housed inside, earning it a place on UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site list. See extra details on China travel agency.

When the Chinese long for views of the nation’s most scenic hills and rivers, they book a bamboo-boat cruise in Yangshuo. The riverside town in southern China is most famous for its karst hills and traditional fishing-village lifestyle. Downtown is touristy. Visitors can rent bikes and head to the countryside to find a more calming scene: bamboo boats chugging along the river, fishermen setting out with cormorants, farmers toiling in fields with lush peaks soaring high above. Most travelers reach Yangshuo from Guilin. Buses bound for Yangshuo leave every 15 minutes from Guilin Bus Station on Zhongshan Lu and Guilin South Railway Station. The journey takes around 90 minutes.